Sending former state Rep. Luis Arroyo to jail for bribery, like ‘draining Lake Michigan with a spoon,’ say lawyers arguing for probation

Former State Rep. Luis Arroyo is asking for probation in his federal corruption case, arguing that jailing him would be “no more effective than emptying Lake Michigan with a spoon” in fighting corruption.

“Mr. Arroyo is done with politics and leads a life away from the spotlight. He spends his days with his family and has learned his lesson,” his lawyers argued in a sentencing note filed Saturday.

Sending Arroyo to jail would have no effect on the behavior of other politicians, his lawyers argued.

Arroyo pleaded guilty last fall to corruption charges stemming from a broad federal investigation into public corruption in Illinois.

Former state senator Terry Link recorded Arroyo saying, “Tell me what you need” during a 2019 meeting at a restaurant in Highland Park and said Arroyo then told him handed over a check for $2,500 to support sweepstakes legislation, the Sun-Times previously revealed.

Link, who wore a wire for the FBI, denied cooperating with the case when asked by a reporter, but the latest court documents name him.

“Sen. Link testified that Mr. Arroyo spoke to him in May and July 2018 about sweepstakes, asking him ‘is that okay with you,'” the filing states.

The memo goes on to say that the two did not speak to each other again until “Sen. Link was a cooperating witness who arranged meetings to discuss the matter and demand payment for his efforts, which took place in a brief period beginning in August 2019.”

Link was charged with filing a false tax return, pleaded guilty the following year and formally agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

A 15-page indictment against Arroyo in October 2020 alleged he spent about a year as a bought-and-paid member of the Illinois House of Representatives for James Weiss’ – a son-in-law of the former assessor of Cook County and Democratic President Joe Berrios and owner-operator of coin-operated coin-operated slot machines.

Weiss reportedly paid Arroyo at least $10,000 to push and vote on key bills, including those related to unlicensed gambling or “sweepstakes” machines that Weiss operated.

The latest court filing also includes portions of grand jury testimony from other officials who were questioned about Arroyo’s attempts to push lawmakers to vote in favor of lottery legislation.

Nicole Budzinski, who served on Governor JB Pritzker’s staff in the spring of 2019 and is running to represent Illinois’ 13th congressional district, testified before a grand jury that Arroyo was an advocate of the coin toss and asked a meeting with the governor – but never had one. .

Budzinski said Arroyo could have sought a meeting on “a lot of different things.”

State Senator Tony Muñoz said Arroyo approached him in 2019 to “set up a meeting,” according to the documents.

State Rep. Bob Rita said he and Arroyo discussed sweepstakes legislation and that Arroyo advocated for the legislation in a meeting with House members. State Rep. Michael J. Zalewski said Arroyo was “tasteless wishing” about the toss in a conversation they had. None of the representatives said they knew Arroyo had entered into a lobbying agreement.

Budzinski, Muñoz, Rita and Zalewski did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

Arroyo’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 18.

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